tv Democracy Now PBS February 23, 2018 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
02/23/18 02/23/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> as you can see with the fbi indictments, the evidence is now incontrovertible. amy: will national secure divisor general h.r. mcmaster says there is incontrovertible evidence that russia meddled in the 2016 election, we will speak to the prize-winning russian-american journalist masha gessen about her new article "the fundamental uncertainty of mueller's russia indictments." >> i think h.r. mcmaster is correct in saying there is incontrovertible evidence of
russian meddling, but to call it bold and sophisticated and to that that we now know index lee had an influence on the outcome of the election is absurd. amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the head of the national rifle association, or nra, wayne lapierre has broken his silence after last week's florida school shooting that left 17 people dead and sparked a student-led national conversation on gun legislation. on thursday, lapierre attacked his opponents as communist sympathizers hell-bent on undermining individual freedoms. >> the elites don't care, not one wit, about america's school system and school children. if they truly cared, what they
would do is they would protect them. for them, it is not a safety issue, it is a political issue. they care more about control and more of it. their goal is to eliminate the second amendment. so theyfirearms freedom can eradicate all individual freedoms. amy: wayne lapierre was speaking at cpac, the annual convention of the conservative political action conference. he was joined by nra spokesperson dana loesch, who singled out camera crews and reporters in the back of the cpac conference room. >> many in legacy media love mass shootings. you guys love it. now i am not saying that you love the tragedy. but i am saying that you love the ratings. crying white mothers are ratings
gold to you and many the legacy media in the back. amy: president trump will address the cpac convention today. president trump on thursday repeated his call to arm u.s. teachers with concealed firearms, saying he was prepared to seek funds for a program that would see as many as 40% of u.s. school staffers trained to carry weapons. pres. trump: the people that do carry, we give them a bonus. we give them a little bit of a bonus. amy: trump's proposal drew swift condemnation from teachers and their unions. randi weingarten, president of the american federation of teachers, called president trump's idea terrible. >> this is the man who cut $9 billion out of the federal budget for schools, who cut every single summer school program, who cut every single afterschool program, who has cut programs for art and for music. and frankly, two days before parkland, cut safety measures and cut mental health measures.
the only people that are helped by arming teachers are the gun manufacturers and the nra, who want to see more sales of guns. amy: president trump's proposal to arm teachers came as broward county sheriff scott israel said -- revealed thursday there was an armed officer present at stoneman douglas high school during the massacre on valentine's day, but he took cover outside the building, failed to enter the school to engage the shooter. the deputy, scot peterson, resigned after the sheriff said surveillance video showed him doing nothing during the assault. meanwhile, a texas school district has threatened to suspend any student taking part in a walkout or holding a protest in solidarity with nationwide student demonstrations. writing on the facebook page of the needville independent school district near houston,
superintendent curtis rhodes warned -- "please be advised that the needville isd will not allow a student demonstration during school hours for any type of protest or awareness!" this contrasts with many local officials who've backed high school protesters. in new york with bill de blasio, and in minneapolis, mayor jacob frey joined students and teachers who walked out of classes wednesday in a protest against gun violence. their protest occurred as students and staff at schools in the oron school district in suburban minneapolis barricaded their classroom doors after social media posts threatened a school shooting. the lockdown was lifted after police arrested a male student on felony charges of making terroristic threats. in syria, warplanes bombarded the besieged rebel-held enclave of eastern ghouta near damascus for the fifth straight day, as human rights groups warned the civilian death toll has topped
400 for the week, with doctors unable to tend to the wounded in bombed-out hospitals. the violence came as russia tabled a debate at the un security council thursday on a measure calling for a 30 days he's fire to allow for evacuations -- cease-fire to allow for the vaccinations of the sick and wounded and convoys of humanitarian aid to reach needy residents. a vote of the year and they said was likely to occur later today. for discussion of syria, you can go to democracynow.org for yesterday's discussion on the broadcast as well as our part to discussion in web exclusives. a top official at the united nations children's fund or unicef, resigned thursday amidst reports he sexually harassed women at his previous workplace, the british charity save the children. justin forsyth's resignation from unicef came after bbc radio reported he faced three complaints of inappropriate behavior, including sending inappropriate messages and commenting on the appearance of
female workers. in haiti, the country has suspended the british charity oxfam as it investigat reports that it tried to cover up sex crimes by senior aid workers in haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake. an internal oxfam review concluded senior aid workers at the charity hired prostitutes at oxfam properties in haiti and then tried to cover it up. haiti's minister of planning and external cooperation, aviol fleurant, said thursday his government was leading its own investigation into oxfam. the two month long investigation i find out there is a link between the eight funds that oxfam or seemed on behalf of haiti and the crime that has been committed, we will find oxfam persona non grata in the country. amy: in the occupied west bank city of jericho, a palestinian man died thursday after he was arrested and severely beaten by
israeli soldiers. israel's military initially said they subdued 33-year-old yasin al-saradih after he attacked soldiers with a knife and attended to steal a gun. the -- attempted to steal a gun. the military later said they fired bullets to stop al-saradih after he attacked soldiers with an iron bar. but surveillance video later emerged showing israeli soldiers kicking and beating the man before dragging his limp body away. the newspaper haaretz reports an autopsy showed no bullet wounds were found on his body, contradicting the military's statement. back in florida, state prison officials administered a lethal cocktail of drugs to prisoners got branch thursday, stopping his heart. witnesses to the execution say branch screamed and repeatedly shouted "murderers!" as the drugs were administered. prison officials would later deny that the scream was caused by the execution drugs. meanwhile, alabama has postponed the execution of death row
prisoner doyle he him after they could not find a viable vein where they could inject lethal drugs. the postponement came after the u.s. supreme court rejected his argument is compromised veins from cancer and drug use that would have made lethal injection unconstitutionally cruel. meanwhile, in texas, governor greg abbott halted what would have been thursday's third u.s. execution, granting clemency to condemned prisoner bart whitaker and commuting his sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole. prosecutors say that in 2003, bart whitaker arranged to have a hitman kill his family members. he was convicted of masterminding the attack, which left his mother and brother dead. bart whitaker's father, kent, survived the attack and later spoke out against his son's death sentence. in virginia, a federal grand jury handed down fresh indictments against donald trump's former campaign chair paul manafort and his business associate rick gates, accusing them of financial and tax
crimes. the 32-count indictment came as part of special counsel robert mueller's probe into alleged russian meddling in the 2016 election. the charges add to money laundering and conspiracy charges already filed against manafort and gates. and in missouri, police arrested republican governor eric greitens thursday after a grand jury indicted him on charges of felony invasion of privacy stemming from an extramarital affair in 2015. the indictment accuses greitens of blindfolding and tying up a woman with whom he was having a consensual affair and then taking her picture without her consent and threatening to release the naked photograph if she ever spoke publicly about the affair. governor greitens was arraigned thursday and later released on his own recognizance. he has acknowledged the affair but denies any criminal behavior. greitens is a former u.s. navy seal who was elected in 2016
after he ran on a pro-gun, anti-obama platform. he had been a democrat who then changed to become a republican. this is an excerpt of a campaign commercial in which greitens is seen firing hundreds of rounds from a high-caliber machine gun. governor whoens, a will set his sight on politics as usual, reduce spending, create jobs, protect life, protect the second a moment, and fight obama's democratic machine. amy: missouri's republican house speaker said thursday that lawmakers will investigate the governor, the first step toward possible impeachment proceedings. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. we begin today's show looking at the justice departnt's recent indictment of 13 russians and three companies in connection with efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. the indicted are accused of orchestrating an online propaganda effort to undermine the us election system.
it claims the russian spread negative information online about hillary clinton and supportive information about donald, as well as bernie sanders. on friday,ndictments some analysts compare the russian interference to japan's 1941 attack on the u.s. level base at pearl harbor. but others have warned not to overstate what russia accomplished. on thursday, i sat down with the prize winning russian-american journalist masha gessen, a longtime critic of russian president vladimir putin. her recent book, "the future is history: how totalitarianism reclaimed russia," won the national book award in 2017. she recently wrote a piece for "the new yorker" titled "the fundamental uncertainty of mueller's russia indictments." i began by asking her about last week's indictments. >> for somebody who actually has read the indictment in its entirety and actually the russian reporting that is a must entirely repeated in the
indictment, it is really hard to square that with the way it has been per trade as sophisticated, bold efforts. i think h.r. mcmaster is correct in saying, yes, there is incontrovertible evidence of russian meddling, but to call it bold, to call it sophisticated, and to imply that we now know that it actually had an influence on the outcome of the election is absurd. it was not bold or sophisticated. we don't know and probably never will know whether it had any impact. amy: let's go to the deputy attorney general, which surprised many, that he was a person who spoke on friday, rod rosenstein, the man very much under attack by president trump, who said there is no evidence this -- there is no evidence the alleged interference influenced the outcome of the election. >> the indictment charges 13 russian nationals and three
russian companies for committing federal crimes while seeking to interfere in the united states medical system. including the 2016 presidential election. the defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the united states. with the stated goal of spreading distrust toward the candidates and the political system in general. amy: so, masha gessen, talk about what you found in reading the indictment, looking at how people are responding in russia and here. what itfascinated with tells us about our imagination about the russian imagination. russia imagines america in the american political system like this unassailable monolith, that they are throwing stuff at just to try to make a dent. where as the united states is starting to increasingly to imagine russia as all-powerful,
incredibly sophisticated, as capable of sending out some absurd tweets in this obliterate english and somehow changing the outcome of the election. that projects such a believe in the fragility of the system and basic instability of it and the gullibility of voters who read something that is not even comparable english and suddenly change their vote. the rookie theory of the investigation is that russians influence the election by influencing american opinion. so we are asked to believe that a significant impact on american public opinion could be produced by the superman coloring book tweet. amy: explain. ads, a lote facebook of them were truly absurd. they were like caricatures of .merican political propaganda
for example, there was a coloring book, sort of bugg bernie, with tweaks going out saying it was suitable for all ages and that it was supposed to sort of advance the sanders candidacy to detract from hillary clinton's candidacy. there was the satan arm sataning jesus ad where was supposed to be hillary and jesus is supposed to be trump, and you have to vote the right way. hadre asked to believe that a measurable impact on a billion-dollar campaign? amy: you write about all of the different reactions from the vice president of facebook rob goldman, what he said, what trump said, and take it from there. >> rob goldman wrote that he has seen all of the russian ads and tweets, which -- at and posts,
which we haven't. we know that facebook turn them over to the investigators, but we've only seen a small selection. seeingct the ones we're are ones that make any sense at all. because there's also just this giant amount of panic produced. ,ob goldman posted or tweeted "i've seen all of the russian ads. their goal was not to elect trump." i think of quitting this currently. amy: let me go to what rob goldman said as he took to twitter writing "very excited to see the mueller indictment today i'm a we shared russian ads with congress. a letter and the american people, to help the merrick and public understand how the russians abused our system. still, there are key facts about the russian actions that are still not well understood. in a subsequent tweet he wrote -- "most of the russian coverage of russian meddling the attempt
-- i can say definitively swaying the election was not the main goal. president trump quoted the latt state in a tweeter. >> this is conjecture on my part, but also based on what i know about what the russian trolls themselves are saying because they have been interviewed at this point by russian journalist, and their goal was to create a mass, to screw with us, right? what rob goldman is probably looking at is a huge mess of incomprehensible sort of messaging. very impoant rt of ruian propaganda. this is not an imaginary phenomon. creang - amy: not here, either. >> creating cacophony, creating
confusion, creating the sense that nothing means anything anymore is definitely important, but that is dierent from saying that their goal was to sway the outcome of the election and that we can say with any amount of certainty that that work and that is how we got trump. also servedhas another purpose, for example, when it comes to these large megacorporations like facebook and twitter, they have been hauled before congress, before the british parliament, and their thing, how could you have allow th to appear? in the end, they're being pressured, basically, these corporations, to censor what is out there. that the agenda of holding facebook accountable publicly is such a bad agenda will stop i think a conversation about what facebook is, a publicly sourced or even though it is a privately owned corporation, is a media company come it is certainly not just a
as facebook has claimed repeatedly. that is an important question. i think it has been asked in the wrong way. when we saw senator al franken badgering the facebook lawyer and screaming, "they were russians lost up how could you not see these as were bought for rubles?" where we started in a place that advertising for rubles, there's nothing -- something is a surly sinister and wearable about it. i don't think it moves forward a conversation about how something publics become a resource, but is privately owned, functions in society. amy: russian-american journalist masha gessen wrote a piece in magazine "ther" fundamental uncertainty of mueller's russia indictments." we will come back to this discussion in a moment. ♪ [music break]
peace report. i'm amy goodman. as we continue our conversation with russian-american journalist masha gessen about the recent indictment of 13 russians and three russian companies for interfering in the 2016 u.s. election. one of the russians indicted last week by the justice department, russian billionaire yevgeny prigozhin, who owns the internet research agency, the russian troll farm that was involved in the russian election meddling, his nickname is reportedly putin's cook. he is also believed to control the russian mercenaries who attacked u.s. troops and their allies in syria this month. i asked masha to talk more about him. the russian state in the russian government is a mafia state comes so the easiest way to think about it is it is a klan with the patriarch in the middle who nominally owns what
does not make a whole lot of difference because -- so they created this troll farm. someone -- it had to be a private company. someone has to nominally own it. there's very little doubt it is getting funding from the kremlin. so it is in fact the klan. we do know a fair not about how that company functioned. again, there is been great russian reporting on what they were doing. a lot of that reporting is regurgitated in the indictment with, apparently, some and i curse ease introduced in translations. amy: explain that. you're basically saying they're taking these russian reports. >> i did not find anything in in theictment that was russian report. the russian investigative report published by rbc in october was terrific post up they published
to the reports, one after another. they really sort of got into this company. the interviewed people who told him what they were told to do. they were not told to support one candidate over another. they were told to create a lot of static. they talked -- the so-called trolls talked about organizing off-line demonstrations. so those stories about how they ,ould find real u.s. persons actual u.s. persons, sometimes offer them money or other incentives to organize a demonstration here or there, right? but again, we're looking at a cacophony -- a cacophony of messaging. my favorite part is after the ent on to
organize rallies. that sums up the way they work. amy: and the people themselves, they had almost the laughable stories of russians getting -- some were deniednd some weren't, and they came to the united states. this was during obama's time. they traveled the country talk about the purple straight strategy and learning the lingo. >> they traveled collecting intelligence and the indictment quotes that they got this incredibly important information, which is focused on the purple states like colorado, nevada -- i can't remember the third one on the list. it was just something you would get from the simplest analysis of american elections. you don't have to talk to actual u.s. persons to get this kind of insight. to be fair, most intelligence is like that. most intelligence is obvious to somebody who knows anything about the topic, right?
especially russian intelligence. it is a lot of stuff based on open source is or obvious stuff, and a lot of static and a lot of people just trying to report they learned something when they actually learn nothing. amy: that this was america, it would be marked highly classified. >> exactly. amy: and then perhaps jared kushner would not be able to read it if he loses his security clearance. but let me ask you about what was said in "the new york times" in "a local black vote." the author writes --
and he is saying there were encouraged basically not to vote. you have, for example, blacktivist, which turns out to be a russian troll, etc. >> i think this is tragic because instead of engaging what actually happened in the 2016 , among american citizens and american activists who are making real-time decisions about how to vote, we're now focusing on the russians. then i remember listening to an interview with the wonderful african-american activist a few weeks before the election, and how painful it seemed for her to talk about the election and how she said she was going to have a really difficult time voting for hillary clinton and she wasn't going to say unequivocally she was going to vote for hillary.
i was listening and i thought, oh, my god, she is going to lose. she is so clearly going to lose, right? she was not going to lose because russians were telling young african-americans to stay home. she was going to lose in part goodse they were very reasons for young african-americans and older african-americans to stay home, because there was a very miserable memory of her position -- visceral memory of her position on prison reform and welfare reform and incredibly racist rhetoric in the 1990's. arrested anyot kind of convincing way. and to trivialize that tragic rift rising the russians did it is just a huge disservice to our political conversation. amy: also, in terms of the noise that is out there, i mean in social media, the amount of people in the unit states -- of course, this is for an
influence, but i'm sure there were many others who were doing the same thing -- i mean, how significant was this? >> the answer is, we don't know. we don't know how significant it was. from the information that is publicly available right now, if you look at what they were doing , if you look at how effective they were doing was -- what i mean was, how effective and social network metrics terms. ads gettheir posts and fewer than average views because they were not very good. they had a couple of runaway successes, but basically, most of their money was wasted by social network standards. to according to the indictment, a budget of a little over $1 million a month. so let say they did this for a year, they spent let's say $15 million. any campaign in which one side spent $1 million.
what do we have to imagine to say with the kind of certainty that russians sway the election yet though critic, the election was won by 77,000 votes in three counties and so the weather could've sway the election, but russiat the blame at specifically i think is misleading. again, to detract from the conversation we should be having, which is about how americans elected trump. amy: i want to ask about a piece you wrote last week called " russia: the conspiracy trap" in which you wrote -- russia gay is helping trump by distracting from real documentable undocumented issues and by promoting a xenophobic conspiracy theory in the cause of removing xenophobic conspiracy there is from office. >> i could not have said it better myself. >> look, he is doing unspeakable damage to our political culture,
to american institutions, to politics as we have known it -- which has not been perfect, but it is being badly damaged. i am really worried it is being damaged in ways that will make it extremely difficult to recover. endlesst have an bandwidth. every time we talk about russia gate, we're not talking about immigration. every time we talk about russia gate, we're not talking about the defamation of the state department. every time we talk about russia gate, we're not talking about you regulation. is: of course, russia nothing only one doing it. interestingly, the piece saturday right after the indictments came down on friday, "the new york times" in the jump to the inside page s a ttle , "it's not like the cia hasn't done this thing before." >> that is an interesting conversation, right? i think there are perfectly
valid remiss to be made. ok, it is not the same. it is some foreign interference may be acceptable or justifiable, and some may not be. if it is us doing it, does one thing. if it is them doing it, does another. let's engage with those arguments. let's not act like any foreign country trying to influence the american election outcome is wrong. this was not a popular argument, but i think an important one. this president is putting every person in the world at risk of dying in a nuclear holocaust. this president is putting every person in the world at risk of living on a planet where the reversible damage has been done to the climate. to say that the world has no business in -- has no stake in
the outcome of the american election is actually irresponsible and wrong and also xenophobic, right? think about that. and then make a reasoned argument for keeping russia out of the sphere because they are so disruptive, misleading, bad faith, etc. but it has to be a good reasoned argument. amy: and trump talking about these indictments, saying they are creating -- if it was the goal of russia to create disruption, chaos within the u.s., the with all the committee hearings, investigations, party hatred, they've exceeded beyond their wildest rooms, laughing their asses off in moscow. >> after a little over your of trump, there is a tweet -- i don't know what to do with myself now. amy: you have this serving all
sorts of purposes. when you heard this was, well, the latest in the russian indictments, which rosenstein was very clear in saying this is not implicating the trump campaign, we're just saying they're doing this. what does it mean to say these people and these companies have been indicted? i mean, they don't live here. they are in russia. they're not going to be extradited here. >> we can conjecture that perhaps one or more of them will be offered an opportunity to come here and testify in maybege for something and that is why this indictment is useful. but i have no idea. i think it is really important in dealing with this stuff to actually deal with what is out there. like the information available. information available is pretty scant from a pretty unconvincing, and does not yet justify the amount of attention that we are paying to it and the importance we are assigning to
it. amy: one of the things trump is doing is saying, ok, if this happened -- he is saying this under enormous pressure -- you should be investigating president obama. he tweeted -- on question, if all the russian meddling took place during the obama administration right up to january 20, why are they the subject of the investigation you go wide and obama do something about the meddling? ask jeff sessions. the president tweeted. >> this reaches the limit of being able to engage with the trumpian tweet. it is a reasonable question, why the obama administration didn't do anything about the interference. we know a little bit about it. there is been pretty decent reporting on it. we know the obama administration believed that hillary was going to win and did not want to put and byger on the scale
taking measures against russians, i think, it is entirely possible that they were looking at the material and thinking, it is pretty ridiculous material. we may be seen as overreacting. since she's going to win anyway, why bother? that is a good journalistic story. i don't think there's anything there to investigate. amy: and the latest news of the trump administrationctually applying the sanctions that congress called for under enormous pressure this week? >what kind of effect with that have on russia, on putin? >they are just considering this. >> first of all, i mean, there is the issue of sanctions being required by law and the trump administration missing its deadline for imposing the sanctions. and that is a problem, right cap co that is a problem regardless
of the sanctions at how useful they might be and whether we think they're justified. i think the problem not so much of does we should be focused less on that problem of trump not imposing sanctions on russia and more on the problem of having a president who can just dismiss a law passed by congress. that, in the long run, is more damaging to our political system than whether it is russia were not mos. amy: would you call it putin-esq e? asit is not like putin independent legislature to do it, but certainly putin will ignore laws a reinterpret them or redraft them as suits his purposes. but that is sort of the autocratic in tel aviv. "i am president, wash and i do something that i don't want to do?" that is trump, that is putin,
and every other autocrat on the planet. a second issue is are these sanctions at all useful and should they be imposed? stopsition is, we need to thinking of sanctions as instruments for changing putin's behavior because they don't work like that. they have never worked like that. they will not work like that. you leaving that they can do is externallywhen he is annoyed, you know they are well-designed sanctions. -- extremely annoyed, you know they are well-designed sanctions. but they're not going to get him to change his behavior, right? amy: explained that. what you mean by will designed. >> the sanctions that are personal sanctions against people who u.s. government believes to be implicated in
grave violations of human rights, but they focus on people who are fairly close to putin, who are wealthy, and they essentially lose their ability to not just on assets in a travel here, but to do any business with u.s. currency. so it is a serious blow to their businesses. their well-designed not because it is just a blow to their business, but putin positions himself as the patriarch that distributes money and power to the clan. those sanctions directly attack his ability to distribute money and power because the us government basically takes away the money and the power that he has gifted. -- that is why those sanctions are the ones i get the biggest reaction out of putin. now, the conceived -- behind the sanctions, there are a couple of theories behind them. one, we will get the elites so
mad they will coalesce against putin. that isn't going to happen. another is that it will hurt in the russian economy and putin will get worried about becoming less popular. that also is not going to happen. the kind of regime putin has built thrives on economic scarcity. the counter sanctions he has imposed in response to the sanctions imposed because of the war in ukraine, the counter sentience of had a bigger impact on the russian economy than the sanctions themselves. still, i think sanctions are the right thing to do. they're the right thing to do not because they can affect behavior, but because it is wrong to do business with a dictator. it is wrong to be partners with a country that claims to be fighting terrorism when actually it is waging war against several nations within its own empire in
the guise of fighting terrorism. what i found even more disturbing than trump's sawyer to impose sanctions is that very week when he was supposed to impose sanctions, three sanctions spy chiefs who are under sanctions came into the country to discuss cooperation on fighting terrorism amy: here. >> came to the united states. amy: at the invitation of the trump administration. >> which basically over of the sanctions in order to bring them to the country. they clearly think it is politically safe to do that because it is fighting terrorism. but it is being in bed with a bloody dictator who imprisons and kills his opponents and who, in the guise of fighting killed hundreds of thousands of people. amy: another plea agreement was announced, this one with a 3300 attorney alexander's want who pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi about his contacts with
trump campaign official rick gates, apparently, he deleted email with them. it der zwaan, son-in-law of german billionaire, one of the richest men in russia and the owner of alfa group. can you tell us about who he is and the significance of this, if there is significance? >> is hard to tell. alfa group, the name has surfaced repeatedly in conversations about the potential ties between trump and russia. there is the story about a server in trump tower that seem to be exclusive -- exclusively to facilitate connections to offer bank. at the time, the fbi told "the new york times" over a year ago that they did not seem to think and speak was about that server, that maybe it was a server that alfa bank was -- became the target of offer bank spam.
my guess is that is not the case, that there was something going on. but we just don't have enough information at this point to say, alfa group, this dutch guy who is been indicted comes, son-in-law, oh, we can piece it all together now. we can't piece it all together. it is still an open question. amy: and the obsession with russia gate? i you turn on cnn or msnbc -- was talking to a russian cab driver the other day and he said, i left russia to escape putin and all i see is putin in the united states. y> but on the other hand, -- my friendscow and moscow are desperate because they haven't had an opportunity to write about russia for over a year now because all the editors are interested in is what russia did to the american election.
that is a really great example of how incredibly sort of circular in our thinking we have become and how even more self-assessed than before the election. amy: and the effects overall on the critical issues facing people in this country. as we begin to wrap up, i want to ask about the news agencies that are now registering as foreign agents in the united states, most recently ria global which produces content for the russian state sputnik, registered as a foreign agent last week. and i believe in november, rt also did. required byave been the federal government to register as foreign agents. be aegally it seems to solid case. especially rt. it is reasonable to question -- to ask about the relevance and
consequences of the requirement to register as foreign agents because, first of all, russians are going to react -- they have reacted by putting more pressure on foreign journalists there. i bet they will start requiring regular, independently owned, american media to start registering as foreign agents, which will make it much more difficult for the media to function -- not that they are having a great time working in moscow in the first place. it also seems to just fuel the sort of xena phobic attitude without having -- xena phobic attitude without having any real consequences. having the benefit of these companies register as foreign agents? like, i would not waste a lot of breath debating this. amy: i just want to end at a point you made at the very beginning with the networks obsessed with the russia connection and what it means about -- what it leads to, which
is this lack of self reflection when it comes to president trump being elected president of the united states. >> so ultimately, we keep talking about how russians elected trump. everything that the wildest hopes of people who are watching the russian investigation with bated breath, even if their wildest hopes come true and it can be shown that russia influenced the outcome of the election, russia will have influenced the outcome of the election by influencing american public opinion -- which princess to square one, which is to ask why and how did so many americans decide that they wanted donald trump for president? and that is the conversation we should have in having for the last year and a half instead of obsessing about russia. amy: and you think it serves the democratic party, or at least those entrenched in power now, to continually say, look
outside, he could not have been us? >> i don't think it serves the democratic party. i think -- i don't think the problem is the democratic party gets a cover up the failures, i think the problem is the democratic party is not pushed to try to figure out what it needs to be doing now. it is not pushed to confront the very basic fact that there were a lot of people in this country who went to the polls consciously to cast a protest vote. not because they thought the donald trump was going to make life better for them and bring back manufacturing, but because the system has not worked for them for so long. because they conscientiously went and voted and were told her life was going to get better, and are life gets worse and they does it cause and effect relationship between the vote they cast for politicians who promised them things. and they finally say, if donald trump is the grenade that i control of the system, then i will do that was the amy:
russian-american journalist masha gessen. her most recent piece for "the new yorker" magazine is headlined "the fundamental uncertainty of mueller's russia indictments." when we come back, world-renowned filmmaker raoul peck. he will respond to when life lapierre.yne his new film is call "the young karl marx." stay with us. ♪ [music break] amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
the head of the national rifle association, or nra, wayne lapierre has broken his silence after last week's florida school shooting that left 17 dead and sparked a student-led national conversation on gun legislation. on thursday, lapierre delivered -- thursday, he attacked them as communist. >> the communist manifesto is one of the most frequently assigned text. assigned is the most economist. there are now over 100 chapters of young democratic socialist of america at many universities and students are even earning academic credit for promoting socialist causes. into many classrooms all over the united states, and i know you think about this when you decide where you're going to send your kids to school and your kids think about it, to. the united states constitution is ignored, the united states history is perverted, and the
second amendment freedom and is country is despised. amy: that is nra head wayne lapierre speaking at the conservative political action conference, or cpac. who better to respond to this than the world-famous film maker raoul peck who happens to be releasing a film today in los angeles and new york on the life and times of karl marx. it's called "the young karl marx." raoul peck is an acclaimed haitian filmmaker and a political activist. his documentary, "i am not your negro" just won the top documentary prize at the british academy film awards, or bafta, on sunday. it was also nominated for an oscar in 2017. his previous films include "lumumba: death of a prophet" as well as "haiti, the silence of the dogs." he also briefly served as haiti's culture minister in the 1990's. raoul peck, welcome to democracy now! >> thank you for having me. and make a let's start right there. you're in this country fresh in from paris to talk about your
new film "the young karl marx." what is your response to wayne lapierre? >> i'm not sure i have to respond. one thing i would say, though, if he is saying so many teachers, so many institutions put karl marx on the curriculum, they probably are doing something right. and i think it would help discussion around what is karl marx, what is -- is a great economists that he is, somebody who changed the whole discourse about class and the working class, capitalism. he has predicted what we're calling globalization today. and basically, the book is referring to the communist manifesto. if you read the first chapter, it is exactly the description of
what is going on. and his organization is on top of the list as an institution, which is moved by profit. and when profit dominate your life, that means you're capable to accept the most unacceptable thing, like killing of young people, and still try to justify it. and this is what is in that manifesto. i think if young people start reading it and have a fair discussion around it, that is a good thing. amy: in the student led movement that is now ripping across this country, started by the actual survivors of the parkland massacre. >> exactly. because they're concerned. they went through that trauma. they know what they're talking about. young very proud of those people. and in the history of the world, many times it was the youngest who started making the real change. even in my own country, the dictatorship was finally thrown out when schoolchildren went to
the street after four or five of them were killed by the police. i see it as a good sign that young children can now take the words and talk for themselves. amy: let's go to the trailer of your brand-new film out today in the united states, " "the young karl marx." >> nice to meet you. >> he employs many workers, including children. >> we have no choice. without child labor, we price ourselves out of the market. >> where would society without explanation the people like you? you have to work, too. wouldn't that be horrible? >>e mu fig the estaishment. on the old world will crumble. >> two kinds of men. >> profits on the fruit of that
labor. >> it is got to stop. >> cut yourself lucky. you heard it, get out. >> they can try to stop us, but they cannot stop our minds. >> a few nights in joe will do us good. >> jenna meni'm all your -- gentlemen, i'm all yours. >> have you read my work? i have read yours. you're the greatest thinker of our times. close happiness requires rebellion. >> everything can change. nothing las forever. we will overthrow the old order. .t is time to wake up until now, philosophers introverted the world, but it must be transformed.
>> they are enemies. >> to free minds and free spirits. >> by the orr of the prime minister, you are expelled from france. >> what minsters in the veins of .uch inspired writing yok amy: "the young karl marx," the film set in factories in paris, -- pressure, of the 1840's. it is a film about today. , it is quite astounding to see this 200th anniversary of karl marx are they is in may. talk about why he was so influential in your life.
you say he and james baldwin have had the greatest effects. >> james baldwin karl marx were basically my teachers. i was lucky to read and's when i was 18. and i did four years of seminar in the capital berlin where i was studying when i was 21. and for karl marx, don't forget, whomain brand who -- brain analyze the capitalist society starting with the industrial revolution. and the story of the film, it is exactly the beginnings where three young europeans from wealthy families, by the way, wealthy middle-class, decided that the world had to change. the type of incredible production of riches, of merchandise, that went hand-in-hand with the creation .f poverty and exploitation they thought this had to change
and they started not only to work on a theoretical level, but as well in organizing the new working class -- which was basically the beginning in manchester and elsewhere. amy: and the film also happens to be about frederick engels, who was the son of an industrialist. >> a great friendship. engels did major work before meeting marx. what he did was important research about the condition of life of workers in england, especially in manchester. met ande two minds realize together they could make everything change. wife, course, karl marx who is also part of that, and mary burns, she is a working woman. and the four of them became friends during their whole life was the amy: burns married to engels. >> they did not actually mary,
but they live together until mary burns died first. amy: as this film is released in the united states in the aftermath of the parkland massacre and the remarkable uprising of the students who are taking on the entrenched power of the nra? >> that is the thi. capitalism and people like wayne lapierre makes you believe that we cannot change anything because that is the way it is. youngrx and those children are telling you know, because human beings act history. so if you get together and if you are collective, you can change anything you set your minds to. amy: raoul peck, we will continue our conversation post up congratulations on your bathtub, the equivalent of the oscars and the embassies for "i am not your need" about james baldwin. "young karl marx out today in los angeles and new york. i'm amy goodman. this is democracy now! democracnow! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed